Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Birthday

Two of my favorite women have back to back birthdays - August 30 and 31. My daughter, Jen, made her debut after a lot of hard work and has brought endless joy to my life ever since. Then there is my older sister, Linda, who has always been my role model. Great ladies, both. They are smart, talented and beautiful. I think my lucky stars that they are a part of my life.

Family is a blessing.

By the way, rehab is back on track. Hooray!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Knee Rehab: Ups and Downs

The road to recovery is not smooth. Infection has reared its ugly head which slows the rehab process. We are hopeful that with the introduction of antibiotics this stumble will be short.

This medical problem has emphasized a bigger and more endemic problem - communication. As in the famous quote from "Cool Hand Luke." What we have here is a failure to communicate. Husband has a prodigious capacity to endure pain. The nursing staff didn't take this in to consideration and ignored his statements of increased discomfort. Plus he doesn't register fever as the "normal" person does. So those two facts together created a situation that was more complex than necessary.

I can't fault the overworked staff too much. They don't know each patient as an individual. To them he is a knee replacement. They are not encouraged to take the time even if they want to. Time is money for the corporation that runs the show. Frequently the personel give the quick, convenient response just to get out of the room. So complaints are ignored. As aides, nurses, therapists and doctors are urged to see more patients in less time, sometimes good care gets compromised. I think that this is one of the primary problems with a big business approach to medical services _ good communication between all the parties involved from patient with family to all staff.

Is there a solution to the problem of communication? There should be a patient advocate who is part of the admittance process. Someone who's job is to take the time to learn patient and family - the  history and dynamics; expectations and experiences. Then they can advise those who are involved in patient care what they are dealing with. Is this a negative, complaining person? Or a docile patient? Does this family need a constant stream of what's going on? Or are they content with little interaction?

Seems like someone is missing a huge business opportunity. If this is the way medicine is "advancing," someone should create a questionaire for a social worker or patient advocate to administer on admittance. This professional must then be able to interpret and condense the information gathered into a form that the medical staff can read and use when interacting with the patient. Information delivered in clear, concise language so as to be actually useful. Someone smarter than I could write a good program for this. Wouldn't this lead to more efficient care? A better experience for patient and staff? Even better care which leads to shorter, less expensive medicine.

Okay, packing up my soap box for the day. I feel better for getting it off my chest. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to Work

Happily I'm able to spend more time in my sewing room. I'm finishing up a sundress, size 2, which will be in "Little Loft" unless someone snatches it up first. As you can see in pic, I'm trying to decide between blue ribbon or black. I'm letting my mind percolate on the choices for a bit.

Next I have an order for 2 dresses for sisters in Boston area. Mom wants them to be similar but not the same. I enjoy this challenge - any excuse to play with color and fabric. Happy me!!

Finally I have another design challenge. I've been talking to someone who wants a Halloween dress for her daughter. Although I've always thought I was a colorful designer, this mom wants BOLD and BRIGHT. I'm not sure I can do this project justice in her eyes. So I'm deciding how much to compromise my style. Sounds like a dilemma on Project Runway. I'm channeling Michael Kors when he counsels contestants to not desert totally their aesthetics for the wants of their clients. Sometimes the designer does know best. It is a matter of having a dress go out into the world with my name on it. I have to be proud of what I produce. I am limited by my eye and passion.  In my heart I feel that another maker would make this customer happier than I can. Stay tuned for solution. I'm taking the time to make the best decision for both customer and me.

Rehab for husband continues. There are some frustrations. Doctor missing in action, so our questions are piling up. My sister tells me that I'm talking about food in every post, but I must mention it again. For 2 nights in a row I've been delivering meals, and 2 mornings in a row coffee. I'm beginning to think we might be better off at home. Is this a sign that he is getting better that we are complaining more?

Have a great day!! I'm off to start cutting out for the 2 girls in Boston.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Week of the Knee Replacement: Rehab

Friday, husband made the move to a rehabilitation hospital. It was exhausting and painful. New digs are bright, staff is caring, but food is bad. In the name of being healthy it is flavorless. There are few choices. Looks like we'll be taking in some meals. I can't believe it is possible, but they've made my cooking look good.

We don't know how long he will be there. Hopefully not too many days. He needs to be able to get up and down without aid, get dressed with minimal help, and take care of fundamental needs. Hubs is looking forward to reaching these goals.

I'm back in the sewing room for a few hours a day. There have been some inquiries about special orders that I want to get started on. Plus I need to finish off a few new things for "Little Loft." Business is good right now. My creative urges are itching and need scratching.

Updates on rehab will be less frequent now. We've survived the first days; now there is the unglamorous hard work ahead. Lots of little steps to mobility and freedom.

Good Sunday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Week of the Knee Replacement: Dismissal

Friday is here. Yesterday was spent getting wires and machines removed in preparation for release. We still await a decision on what today brings. Will he come home? Or go to a rehab facility? One sure thing, this hospital is done with him.

There are pros and cons for each option. At home he gets to be surrounded by familiar things, but he has to leave his hospital bed behind. At rehab he gets more intensive therapy, but he must eat hospital type food. At home he has one feeble caretaker to help him around; at rehab he has strong arms and backs to teach him how to take care of himself. Pros and cons! We await a decision and are prepared to deal with either option.

Husband has been a good patient. He is doing everything he is asked and enduring the discomfort stoically. The goals of getting better, walking, bending and flexing are never far from his mind. Thanks to all who have called. He has enjoyed the conversations and laughs. You've made the time pass more quickly.

Until tomorrow -  wherever we are.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Week of the Knee Replacement: Questions

Why do all the support team - physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and nurses tell important information to a patient riding high on drugs and expect them to remember it? (I would include the surgeon, but he is not very visible himself.)

And the companion question. Do above mentioned professionals have a surveillance system which alerts them when the patient's coherent future caregiver leaves the building so they can swoop in to impart important information? 

Just asking.

Husband continues to make progress - short walks, sitting in chair, knee on flex machine. He was a bit cranky yesterday. Is that a sign he is improving? Or a sympton of withdrawal from "Mike and Mike in the Morning?"

Talk again soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Week of the Knee Replacement: From the Bedside

Morning after the operation. The surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses, and past recipients of new knees all warned that it was very painful. and so it is. Many painkillers are involved, but they wear off. Hubs is hanging onto idea that it will all be worth it. Friends and family affirm that the end justifies the means. Oh, to be able to play golf again, walk the grocery aisles, get up and down from chairs without pain that is the goal.

Hospitals are a whole different experience these days. They've discovered customer service. Sure it is expensive, but if you have to be there you might as well be treated well. Private rooms. Cable TV, but sadly no Mike and Mike in the morning but lets not make him so comfortable he never wants to leave. Room service with a menu that is available from 7 to 7. Gone are the mass meals under the domes rolling down the halls.  Since they are charging you 5 star hotel rates, it's nice that the amenities have improved.

That's the update for today. He is expected to be in hospital until Friday, then it's home and end of pampering. That's offset with the return of all sports, all the time on TV. Yay!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Week of Knee Replacement: Operation Day

Whoo! What an early start to our day. Head out to hospital at 5:00 AM. No mistakes  in the dark as we find the right hospital and check in. Why must everyone ask the same questions ad nauseum? Name, date of birth, what procedure? Check and cross check. I haven't seen him yet after surgery, but I can't see how they could make a mistake. There was a big black sharpie check on the proper knee, and a shunt in groin north of knee to deliver the nerve blocker. Hard to miss signs pointing to bad knee. So I have faith that they have replaced the right knee.

He is now in recovery. As soon as he gets into his room, I'll go to see him. Not expecting him to spend much awake time today. As a young man he talked in his sleep. Who knows maybe I'll find out some juicy secret.

Thanks for all your positive thoughts and keep thinking them. Be back tomorrow with more updates.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Week of the Knee Replacement: Day One

No, it's not me but my husband. After some years of ignoring pain and increasing immobility the man has decided the time has come to get a new knee. The operation is tomorrow; today is filled with pre-op stuff.

We had an  unscheduled reheardal yesterday. The pain was unbearable (and this is someone with a very high pain tolerance.) So off we trundled to the ER. After x rays, ultrasound, consult with surgeon, blood drawn and much time, it was decided to pump him full of pain killers and wait for surgery. As the doctor said, "This knee is truly a mess and needs to go."

Today we practiced my fetching and carrying for him. Believe me, he won't be gaining weight while having to depend on me for all meals. He can't drive; I must be his chauffeur for the next month. All of you, feel sorry for him and sorrier for me as we deal with a loss of freedom and increased dependency. We will survive (as long as we are kept far away from sharp objects!) I am confident when the operation and rehabilitation are finsihed. we will think it was worth it as the pain becomes a dim memory and walking becomes a reality.

Updates coming as we settle into our new routine.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August Stroll

Those of you who have been with me for awhile know that after a break from blogging I have to start slow again. Just to get back in the habit I have to compose a piece about nothing. (Hey, I hear you out there. Many of my blogs are about nothing. Ha, ha! But your cynicism doesn't deter me.) So here goes with some of my random thoughts.

I really enjoyed the Olympics.It was a welcome relief from the mean political season to have hours of TV devoted to positive deeds. The games celebrated hardwork, incredible talent and pride. Although it is all about winning, the athlete who strives just to finish is applauded and cheered. I wallowed in the feel good moments and agonized in the disappointments. Even the commercials were up-beat and inspiring. (I loved the planet guy from Dow. I wanted to hug his leafy body and cavort through streets and fields with him.) Forteen days of man's best, I can't wait for the Winter Games of 2014.

But I'm left sad and filled with wondering why our politicians can't campaign with positive messages. So much finger pointing, so little respect for the American people. I dread the next 2 1/2 months.

Enough said for today. Dragging my soapbox back to the closet. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Afriend died this week. He took his own life. Why?

Suicide is such an ugly act. It leaves a bewildered family and confused friends to mourn. Sadness is laced with many questions. How do you celebrate a life which left him so unsatisfied that he could only see a premature end? How do you commemorate an event which hurts so many people? Do we ignore the offense and concentrate on good times?

He was a part of my family's life for almost 50 years. At first meeting there was an instant recognition of kinship. There were good times and much laughter. Good golf with the guys. Great cookouts with kids in constant motion. Memorable Caribbean vacations from St Thomas to St Lucia to the Bahamas. There were unimaginable tears shared with the death of a daughter.

In short we shared all that life threw at us. Now this. Good or bad we never lost hope that we would go on - together. Shattered. Strange. Sorrowful. We are sorry that life became so unbearable. Our hearts ache for the grief and pain left for the family to deal with. We friends are left with a hole in the fabric of our history. Memories will be held close, and regrets about the loss of chances to make more will continue.

There are no answers to the questions. Only  "what ifs" and "if onlies."

So, we say a simple goodby. We were glad to know you. We hope you know that we cared.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School

A sample of this year's fall/winter jumper. The plaid is a soft brushed cotton. It feels so good to touch. The bodice and ruffle are cotton prints. Yes, it's a lot of pink - not for the fainthearted princess! Maybe for the tree climbing tomboy who's not afraid to show her feminine face. So what do you think? Put a tee and leggings with it, and your Fancy Nancy is ready for school.

Soon to be listed on etsy. This is a very limited edition. You can always email me to reserve any size between 2T-6. Any questions? Email me..

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Love Ya Still

After I posted yesterday, I kept thinking about my siblings. Dreaming about what I would do if I could have some time with them So here are my thoughts.

Older sister - I'd like to explore the Northwest with you. Visit the San Juan islands, dine along the Columbia River, indulge in the family love of books at Powells. Then sit and talk, read your poetry and fill my soul with your laughter.

Sister 2 - I want to share my morning cup of coffee with you on your porch with the cats where we will catch up on the past, the present and our future. Wonderfully warm chit-chat to start our day.

Brother - I'd like to share the soarings of the bald eagles that nest near your river. To sit in silence as we enjoy the amazements of nature all around us.

Youngest Brother - I want to introduce you to my dog, Butler. I know he would love you, and you would be properly in awe of him. We could sit outside and appreciate the frolicking of our dogs while discussing the foibles of mankind.

Simple wishes for time with family. I find great comfort in just having the dream.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Love Ya

I work in solitude. Some weeks the only person I connect with is the grocery clerk. Even my email is silent unless I need an insurance quote or an enhanced sexual experience. Being a bit of a recluse is not a bad thing, but like everything else in life needs to be experienced in moderation. Right now I need to break my routine aloneness with some family.

Throughout my life I've moved often. The result of leaving family and friends behind has left me leery of making new friends. Each move created pain - the wrenching ache of saying goodby to neighbors, club mates, friends who lunch. The price of embracing the new adventure of relocating is the death of the familiar, the comfortable, the warm hugs of friends. Don't get me wrong, I've loved being able to see so much of our world. I'm just saying that there is a price to pay. Now as I slow down, I realize how much I miss being near to my siblings. Seeing them every couple of years isn't enough.  Wuldn't it be nice to be able to grab a cup of coffee with my sister? Or share a bar-b-qued pork chop with a brother?

I have a crazy dram that as we advance into this later stage of life families could reunite, live in a compound, share a big back yard where if we wanted companionship we could grab our cup of coffee or tea and wander outside to chat with family. What a treat it would be to say good morning to the extraordinary people in my family. What a joy to see their smiles, hear their comments, feel their love at the start of my day.

Can you tell how much I miss them? Why aren't I better at keeping in touch? I miss them so much and frequently carry on a lively conversation with them in my mind, but I let weeks, months, years go by without being with them. I want to share in their lives but the habit of not communicating is difficult to break. I must do better.

 Or perhaps I fear the reality of close contact with my family cannot match the dream. I'd love to find out. On those rare times when we get to share time and space, I come away more in love with those who share my gene pool. So I'll continue to dream of closeness. I will anticipate the next visit. I will fill my solitude with family memories. Love ya!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Small Thoughts on a Summer Morning

This morning as I sat outside watching my dog, a cardinal came to visit. He conversed from a branch with a chip, chip before flying away to the next yard. Cardinals always remind me of my mother. Outside her kitchen window over the sink perched on the sill was a birdfeeder. As we washed dishes a variety of birds nibbled the grains and seeds. It was entertaining to watch them squabble and search out the choicest morsels as they practiced pinpoint landings. Often their behavior mirrored our actions inside. "Who's turn was it to wash the dishes? Why is she off tonight? Where is she, she's suppose to be drying?" I wonder what the birds were thinking on their side of the glass as  they observed our antics.

Speaking of morning moments, last week a hummingbird came to cavort in the sprinklers. A sight I've never seen before. I love these special happenings in nature. Although it was a one-time, probably, event, I hold it in my mind and revisit the memory often. Isn't nature wonderful? What joy and wonder is in our world.

Temperatures are hovering around the 100's here, so it is hard to think that autumn is close. In my sewing room I'm finished most of the summer special orders and turned toward fall and winter. Above is a wondeful, soft brushed plaid being made into a jumper. It makes me smile as I work - the pinks, the plaid, the touch. How lucky am I to be spending a Monday morning doing what I love!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Little Loft Opening

Meet Amanda. She's wearing one of the new apron dresses that Annarella Girl has available for fall. Perfect for back to school. She can layer it with a tee and leggings for easy wear.

This is just one of the new color combinations I'm featuring for the fall/winter season. I'm rolling them out for the Grand Opening of Little Loft this Friday, August 3.
When: 5 pm
Where: 709 7th st, on the square in downtown Georgetown - upstairs at The Exchange
What: lots of fun with a balloon artist, clown, food and DISCOUNTS.
           ONE DAY ONLY - 20% discount on all Annarella Girl.

We're hoping for a big crowd, so help me spread the word. See you there.

soooo cute!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Grammy Camp Finale

Laast grammy camp of this summer. What better way to wrap it up than with chocolate cookies supreme!!

gathering supplies and equipment

mixing it up

aw, come on, can I have a little taste
spooning the dough on the cookie sheets

least favorite part of cooking

Daddy's special cookie - BIG


A good day in the kitchen. The kids shared some to their dad's office, took some home and left a few for Grammy to enjoy